Dec 15, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Shaw Lady Bears head coach Jacques Curtis came into the Shaw University Invitational looking for his team to find its chemistry.
After a 2-0 performance in the Invitational, Curtis can see the chemistry building in his team.
Thanks to a strong shooting performance from the field, the # 13 Lady Bears picked up their biggest win of the season, defeating # 17 Nova Southeastern 97-82 in the third game of the Shaw University Invitational Saturday night at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium.
“The chemistry is coming now,” said Curtis. “The only thing that can keep it coming is to get games. We don’t need any injuries because we need everyone to keep playing together. The chemistry looked a whole lot better today. They’re getting comfortable. They are starting to learn what each other can do. It’s about them getting comfortable. I can see it coming.”
Taylor Dalrymple was a big part of the Lady Bears’ success in the win over the Sharks. The 6-1 senior had a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-4 from three-point territory. Dalrymple also snagged nine rebounds in the victory.
Ronika Ransford, playing in just her second game of the season, scored a season-high 21 points with six rebounds. Adana David had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to round out the double digit scorers for the Lady Bears.
“All of them are starting to find themselves out there,” said Curtis. “It’s just a matter of them getting comfortable with each other.”
As a team, the Lady Bears shot 55.7 percent (34-of-61) from the field as they improved to 3-1 on the season. Shaw also shot 82.8 percent (24-of-29) from the free throw line and hit five of their 12 three-point attempts for a 41.7 shooting percentage from long range.
Defensively, the Lady Bears limited the Sharks - now 6-3 on the season - to 39.7 percent shooting in the game. The Sharks, who have been a strong three-point shooting team all season long, struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 14-of-46 for 30 percent.
“This was the type of game that we expected,” said Curtis. “They were a good team; they’re in the top 25 for a reason. This was probably the best win of the season so far and that was probably the best team we’ve played so far.”
The contest was a back-and-forth affair for the first five and a half minutes of the game with each team going on runs to keep things close early on. With 14:33 remaining in the opening half, Nova Southeastern’s Meixandra Porter hit a free throw to put the Sharks up 14-12. The Lady Bears responded by going on a 9-0 run and taking a 21-14 lead with 12:34 left in the first half.
Nova Southeastern answered with a 13-6 spurt of its own to tie things up at 27 with 8:39 remaining in the first half. With the game tied at 29 at the seven-minute mark, the Lady Bears closed out the first half on a 13-3 run to take a 42-32 lead at halftime.
It was much of the same in the second half as each team kept going on runs. The Sharks opened the second half on a 14-8 run to pull within four at 50-46 with 13:35 remaining in the game. Shaw answered with a 12-4 run over the next three minutes, which included a huge three-pointer from Dalrymple to give Shaw a 62-54 lead with 10:33 remaining in the game.
Nova Southeastern’s Danielle Porter missed a three-pointer but Jessica Russi was there for the put back to bring the Sharks within six. After Shaw’s Diamond Mitchell missed a jumper on the other end, the Sharks cut their deficit to 62-59 after a three-pointer by Amanda Burakoski.
Dalrymple put the Lady Bears back up by five on a put-back attempt. After a Nova Southeastern turnover, Ransford gave Shaw a comfortable seven-point lead on a layup with 8:50 remaining in the contest.
Nova’s Meixandra Porter brought it to within four (66-62) on a three-pointer, which would be as close as the Sharks would get for the remainder of the contest.
On the other end, Ransford scored a layup to make it 68-62. Kearah Jeffreys hit a free throw and a jumper to extend Shaw’s lead to nine at 71-62 with 7:22 remaining.
Nova Southeastern pulled back within five at 73-68 with 5:29 left to play in the game thanks to a three-pointer by Porter. The Lady Bears responded by closing the game out on a 24-14 run to win their second straight game.
In the final minute of the game, Shaw was sent to the free throw line 10 times and the Lady Bears answered by sinking all 10 of their free throws, including Sequoyah Griffin going 6-of-6 from the line in that stretch.
All of Griffin’s seven points came from the charity stripe. The point guard finished 7-of-8 from the floor. The Lady Bears had a notable performance from Crystal Harris, who contributed nine points in the win. Crystal Wilson, who finished with eight points, also had six rebounds and five assists. Jeffreys had eight points on 1-of-2 from long range along with four boards. Crystal Gordon had eight points as well on 4-of-5 shooting.
Burakoski led Nova Southeastern with 25 points on 10-of-20 from the floor and 5-of-12 from beyond-the-arc. Porter had 23 points on 4-of-16 from three-point land. Danielle Robinson added 18 points on 4-of-15 from long range.
“They like to shoot the three-ball,” said Curtis about Nova Southeastern’s offense. “We like to force them to shoot the three-ball because percentage wise, it’s the worst shot in the game. For them to take 46 three’s, we’ll take that.”
The Lady Bears finished with 40 points in the paint, compared to just 28 for the Sharks.
“We’re trying to pound the ball inside, that’s our game,” said Curtis. “In the first half, none of our post players missed a shot. We want to be an inside team first and attack that basket and try to get to the free throw line.”
Fayetteville State’s victory over Washington Adventist concluded the Shaw Invitational, which Curtis believes was a big success.
“There was some great competition,” said Curtis. “Nova and Fayetteville are both great teams. The game with Nova and Fayetteville State last night was a nail biter just like our game today was a nail biter. People want to see good basketball and I feel like they saw it.”
The Lady Bears will return to action on Monday when they travel to Florida to battle Palm Beach Atlantic. The Lady Bears will stay in Florida when they face Lynn University on Wednesday.